Hey friend! So you’re here on this page because you’re wondering what is lagom? And probably doubting me when I say it can change your life. Well, let me give you full disclosure. Lagom can change your life but it makes it’s most drastic (and beneficial) changes in the simplest ways. That’s why many people, I think, write it off before giving it a real chance. Because humans are best at over-complicating things. So, keep an open mind and an open heart and (hopefully) give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
What is Lagom?
So you’ve tried minimalism and you’ve tried hygge. Maybe neither of them felt quite right. But have you heard of the lifestyle that kind of combines the two? That my lovely friends is lagom (la-ghom). What is lagom? Besides being another difficult Scandinavian word to pronounce, lagom is often referred to as the Goldilocks Lifestyle.
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Lagom is a Swedish principle that is deeply ingrained in their culture. Lagom follows some of the principles of minimalism in that you avoid hyper-consumption. But it also adds the coziness of hygge without drowning in a mountain of throw pillows. Its purpose is to strike a balance between all areas of your life through moderation.
According to Google Translate, lagom directly translates to “moderate” or everything in moderation. The whole idea is not too much, not too little. Hence, the picky and very particular Goldilocks of having things just right.
A bit of history…
The Swedes believe that this is the best way to live a happy life. You deprive yourself from nothing but also don’t overdo things. Moderation is, to them, a great way to create a balanced and fulfilling life. Lagom is so deeply indoctrinated into the culture that it is visible in everything from work life, to their homes, and even in their political systems. Everyone should have enough but not too much seems to be the principle they stick with, which works great for their country.
It strikes a balance between minimalism and hygge too. You don’t need to be buried by piles of cozy blankets or burn the house down with all your scented candles. Nor do you need to feel like you can only own one spoon and no underwear. Lagom is the happy medium between the two.
Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance.
This is a lifestyle that leaks over into all areas of life. Having work-life balance, having just the right amount of possessions, healthy frugality, reducing stress, all the way down to eating just the right amount of food at meal times.
Benefits of Incorporating Lagom into Your Life
You remove yourself from extremes.
In modern culture, we tend to gravitate between extremes. Diets + bingeing. Daily Crossfit + Neflix marathons. Working overtime + working barely enough. Black + white. These extremes end up leaving us feel depleted, exhausted, and unhappy. The goal should be that happy medium of “just enough”. Just enough work and play. A healthy diet and a tasty dessert after dinner. Crossfit + an episode a day. When we are constantly depriving ourselves from the things we enjoy and the things we need to do, we end up burning out from them and heading towards the other extreme.
If I were to describe Lagom in a few words, it would be the “happiest grey area ever”. A grey area where you feel fulfilled by working out just enough, eating just enough, sleeping enough, and adventuring enough. Gluttony ain’t cute girl, and in modern western culture we are the queens and kings at over-consumption in all areas of life.
And seeing that grey area with lagom, you’ll probably have a decent shift in mindset too. Things aren’t all bad and they aren’t all good. They are grey: both good and bad. You cannot appreciate the beauty of life without seeing the ugly sides too. You don’t get the good without a little bad. So with lagom, appreciation, gratitude, and perspective can be gained.
“Maybe you have to know the darkness before you can appreciate the light.”Madeleine L’Engle, A Ring of Endless Light
You’ll be happier
Happiness begins with having your basic needs met and ends with gratitude and love of what your life is and is becoming. By incorporating lagom into your life, you clear away the excess and add in the things that are needed and wanted. When things are just right, you feel good. That’s why Goldilocks stole porridge and slept in a stranger’s bed – it just felt just right.
**note: this is just a joke, don’t steal from people (or bears) and I can’t condone sleeping in stranger’s beds – Goldilocks was a weird kid**.
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We’re not aiming for that giddy over the top joy that burns bright but fizzles out quickly like a gasoline fire. We’re shooting for that deep contentedness and joy that is long lasting in your life. Lagom helps you find that long lasting campfire smolder feeling of joy that touches every part of and everyone in your life. Lagom is meant to build a good life not just a life where you’re always searching for another high.
You’ll be healthier
Living in excess or in deprivation isn’t healthy. Your body and mind don’t do well in extremes typically. By practicing lagom you keep your body and mind in homeostasis (aka keeping your internal stability). You’re not too hungry, you’re not too full.
With Lagom, you also learn how to do more health things with balance. You learn to workout just enough rather than not at all or too much. And yes, you can work out too much.
You mental health will be more stable too. When you apply that moderation to your life, your brain and emotions don’t always feel as in flux. Anxiety can often be caused by feeling overwhelmed with too much. Stress is eased with moderation. Truly applying lagom principles to your life can ease both by giving yourself permission to rest when you need to + work when is necessary.
Lagom is Mindful
When we are being mindful, we are being aware. It is as simple as that. And to have moderation, you have to be mindful.
Let me ask you this. How often have you gotten a snack (like some crisps or something) and you plop down to watch you next episode of New Girl (personal fav btw) and then all of a sudden you realize you’ve eaten the whole bag? Please don’t tell me it’s just me. Well, that’s not moderate. And we (I, whatever) overindulged on chips and now my stomach feels like it’s going to explode. Seriously, salt and vinegar chips hate my stomach so why do I eat a full bag?!
Well with mindfulness you are able to be moderate. With moderation you become more mindful. It’s a tricky little cycle to get just right, but it really helps you feel like you’ve leveled up in life.
And this isn’t just with food. You have to often be aware to be moderate on social media, at work, in relationships, with activity levels, etc. Seems like the Swedes have started working on this mindfulness thing wayyy before us. Maybe that’s why their consistently ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world…just sayin’.
There is fulfillment in “just enough”
So, what is lagom? Lagom is partially fulfillment. Living a fulfilling life isn’t about if you have the most or the least. Fulfillment is really just about finding the things that spark a fire in your soul and living in a way that continues to feed that fire.
And to keep any strong, healthy fire going, you have to strike a balance between what your putting into your fire. Lagom helps you maintain your fire + gets you there with hopefully less time + difficulty.
The Swedish lifestyle may have it all figured out. Life in moderation is from what I’ve seen the best way to live. Between the benefits for your mental and physical health and the mindset shifts it creates, lagom is like the perfect porridge of lifestyles – not too much, not too little, just right.
With the Swedes belief that everyone should have enough but not too much, perhaps this is why Sweden is consistently rated as one of the best and happiest places to live. What can lagom do for your life? Do you need more moderation?
If you’re looking for more information on lagom or just wondering how to better incorporate it into your life check out Live Lagom: Balanced Living, the Swedish Way by Anne Brones. It’s amazingly inspirational and helpful on creating a balanced life.
Intrigued by lagom? Well you’re not alone. How can you not be intrigued by a lifestyle where you can have everything you want and improve your life at the same time? But! Like I said, it’s hard to have moderation before you have awareness. Luckily, I’ve got you covered. Let’s get you started on your mindfulness journey right now (in 10 minutes or less)! Download your FREE guide below and let’s get this party started.